God, Eternity, and Existence

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Neil D
 
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 08:45 pm
Supposing there is a God. By God i mean something fundamental from which everything comes, and it itself came from nothing, but has always existed in eternity. Nothing More is implied by this use of the word "God".

Do you think that anything this God creates would have already been created an infinite number of times? Since it exists in eternity.

Neil
 
Krumple
 
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 09:47 pm
@Neil D,
Neil;140777 wrote:
Supposing there is a God. By God i mean something fundamental from which everything comes, and it itself came from nothing, but has always existed in eternity. Nothing More is implied by this use of the word "God".

Do you think that anything this God creates would have already been created an infinite number of times? Since it exists in eternity.

Neil


This is actually a great question. It seems to make sense that if such a being were to exist and create something in the first place. One could ask what was the motivation to create in the first place? If it were out of boredom then by all means as you have pointed out with your questioning. Given enough time that boredom would return thus and endless cycle of create, loss and create again for eternity.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 10:22 pm
@Neil D,
I have been through this argument a billion times previously. Around time number 758,457,564 I learned that such questions are actually meaningless, because unless you are willing to invest the asking of them with some sense of urgency, they don't mean anything. So here I have saved you a lot of trouble.
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Thu 18 Mar, 2010 01:53 am
@Neil D,
Neil;140777 wrote:
Supposing there is a God. By God i mean something fundamental from which everything comes, and it itself came from nothing, but has always existed in eternity. Nothing More is implied by this use of the word "God".

Do you think that anything this God creates would have already been created an infinite number of times? Since it exists in eternity.

Neil


 
Neil D
 
Reply Thu 18 Mar, 2010 08:58 pm
@jeeprs,
I guess the "urgency", if thats what you choose to call it, and the thought I was pondering that led me to this question. Is what is the difference in the "state of non-existence" prior to birth as opposed to after death. I was thinking that if there wasnt any difference, then whatever conditions arose to create a particular individual once, would undoubtedly happen again, and again off into infinity, within the framework of eternity.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 18 Mar, 2010 09:06 pm
@Neil D,
Forgive me if I was being a little facetious. I do suppose that it is a fair question now I consider it again. This intuition might actually be similar to the idea in the ancient world of 'the eternal return'. It is really rather a chilling thought in some ways. There is an interesting title on it by Mircea Eliade, called the Myth of the Eternal Return. The idea is mentioned briefly in Wikipedia Eternal return - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 02:42 pm
@Neil D,
Neil;140777 wrote:
Supposing there is a God. By God i mean something fundamental from which everything comes, and it itself came from nothing, but has always existed in eternity. Nothing More is implied by this use of the word "God".

Do you think that anything this God creates would have already been created an infinite number of times? Since it exists in eternity.

Neil


This question is good. It seems to me that the human mind cannot see over itself. Also, that we can't honestly think infinity. But let me offer you a programming metaphor for human infinity.

Quote:

5 A = A + 1
10 PRINT A
15 GOTO 5
Maybe the eternal recurrence notion is a good way to emphasize that being is essentially dynamic, that being is really becoming. And yet we think in terms of beings.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 20 Mar, 2010 02:57 pm
@Neil D,
Neil;140777 wrote:
Do you think that anything this God creates would have already been created an infinite number of times? Since it exists in eternity.Neil
Part of the difficulty with the question for me, is I think we humans can not really conceive of either infinity or eternity anymore than we can conceive of god.

What does it mean to say god is "eternal" and exists independent of both time and the world?

For me god is the creative advance of the universe through process. Divine creativity is process and that is both ultimate principle and ultimate reality. The notion that god is separate from the process, from the world and from time itself has no meaning to which I can relate? God dwells in the world and works through natural process or god either is not or is irrelevant and incomprehensible.

Our universe anyway is not eternal (it has an alpha and an omega) and probably not infinite either.
 
Neil D
 
Reply Sun 21 Mar, 2010 07:05 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;141663 wrote:

5 A = A + 1
10 PRINT A
15 GOTO 5


I think infinity as it relates to time though, should also have an "A - 1" to represent infinity going backwards through time. I guess "A" could represent any segment of time. I would call it infinite linear time.
 
Neil D
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 08:03 pm
@prothero,
prothero;141669 wrote:

Part of the difficulty with the question for me, is I think we humans can not really conceive of either infinity or eternity anymore than we can conceive of god.

What does it mean to say god is "eternal" and exists independent of both time and the world?



If eternity/infinity exists in some form, then I dont see why we shouldnt be able to conceive of it. I can conceive of infinite time as going backward through the past forever, and extending into the future forever. But the problem is knowing whether its true or not.

As you said the universe is not eternal. It supposedly had a beginning, and most likely an end. Giving it a finite timeline. I question what exists outside of this timeframe, what sort of timeframe it exists in, and the nature of it?

If something fundamental(or god), was not eternal, then at some point something would have to come from nothing. That makes no sense. So what is this fundamental stuff? What is the nature if it? And why does it exist at all, as opposed to absolutely nothing existing?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 09:05 pm
@Neil D,
There is also the idea of eternity being outside of time altogether, not a matter of simply lasting for an infinite duration.

As for your last question, it is the question of all philosophy (and all science for that matter). I have sought to view the questions through the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical and meditative traditions. They can't necessarily give you the answer but they can show you how to look for it.

The other more contemporary thing worth thinking about is the anthropic cosmological principle. This was a rather revolutionary book published in the 90's (I think) by Barrow and Tipler (ditto) which says that the universe itself seemed to have anticipated the emergence of intelligent life (such as H Sapiens), in that, fundamental constants are finely calibrated in such a way that life seems inevitable from the Big Bang. Spooky idea, but I like it.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 09:09 pm
@Neil D,
Neil;142038 wrote:
I think infinity as it relates to time though, should also have an "A - 1" to represent infinity going backwards through time. I guess "A" could represent any segment of time. I would call it infinite linear time.


We may be in agreement here. There is both numerical and spatial infinity. The two are related but different? But they are related on the number line, which is imagined automatically in a Euclidean way. Between any two numbers lie an infinity of other numbers. We can be endlessly precise with our positional notation.

On the flip side, imagine the smallest or largest object possible. But then imagine something either smaller or larger than this supposedly smallest or largest object. The human mind is up against its structure in cases like these.

---------- Post added 03-22-2010 at 10:11 PM ----------

jeeprs;142406 wrote:
There is also the idea of eternity being outside of time altogether, not a matter of simply lasting for an infinite duration.


Right, and this is probably the "deeper" version of eternity. The word is just a negation of the word time, I think. E-ternal.

I think we touch "eternity" anytime we forget all about time. Eternity as duration was invented perhaps to whitewash our mortality.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 09:12 pm
@Neil D,
well I'm really aware that time itself is a product of the brain. As far as the universe is concerned, there is no time whatever.

What was that great Woody Allen saying? "Time is just God's way of making sure everything doesn't happen at once."
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 09:16 pm
@Neil D,
I generally agree. Except that I can't think of a de-humanized universe, or I don't think I can. I see time as a concept, an invention, a machine that man (sometimes) mistakes for a habitat. One might call time the by-product of memory and desire.

I like that quote from Woody. I also think time and eternity are great philosophical subjects.
 
Neil D
 
Reply Wed 24 Mar, 2010 07:29 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;142406 wrote:

There is also the idea of eternity being outside of time altogether, not a matter of simply lasting for an infinite duration.


Which I suppose is the same as saying no form of time exists in eternity?
When we talk about things such as "The Eternal Return", and things re-occuring an infinite number of times. We must be referring to things that exist outside our Universe, because our Universe is neither infinite nor eternal. It seems that if no time existed outside our universe, or before it, then we would have a static eternity of nothing, as opposed to a dynamic eternity of something?

I'm assuming that in order for change to occur, time must exist in some other form then the finite linear time of our universe?

I'd like to take a vote on the three possibilities im considering:

1) No time - eternity exists outside of, or independent of time altogether.
2) Infinite Linear Time - The past would be infinite, and time would extend infinitely into the future(I might have an issue with this one).
3) Circular Time - A cycle recurring an infinite number of times.

Are there any other possibilities?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 24 Mar, 2010 07:51 pm
@Neil D,
Here is an interesing quote on the subject by science writer Paul Davies:

"When it comes to the universe as a whole, time loses its meaning, for there is nothing else relative to which the universe may be said to change. This 'vanishing' of time for the entire universe becomes very explicit in quantum cosmology, where the time variable simply drops out of the quantum description. It may readily be restored in the theory by considering the universe to be separated into two sub-systems: an observer with a clock, and the rest of the universe. So the observer plays an absolutely critical role in this respect. Linde [Andrei Linde, a physicist] expresses it graphically: "Thus we see that without introducing an observer, we have a dead universe, which does not evolve in time", and "we are together, the universe and us. The moment you say that the universe exists without any observers, I cannot make any sense out of this. I cannot imagine a consistent theory of everything that ignores consciousness...in the absence of observers, our universe is dead." Paul Davies, The Goldilocks Enigma: Why the Universe is Just Right for Life, p261.

---------- Post added 03-25-2010 at 12:52 PM ----------

Also see Bertrand Russell's 'Mysticism and Logic' for his analysis of the mystical meaning of 'eternity'.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 24 Mar, 2010 10:15 pm
@Neil D,
Finally I interpret references to 'the Life Eternal' in Christian and other religious literature, as references to a sense of being beyond time, not references to something of infinite duration. It does of course seem completely opaque to normal cognition, because thought itself is intimately connected with time. Hence the role of ecstacy (not the drug!) in religious understanding. Ecstacy is derived from ex (outside) stasis (normality). This is why in the Eastern literature, 'moksha' or 'nirvana' is equated with 'the deathless' or 'liberation from the eternal cycle'. This understanding might have remained in some ancient Greek sources, but was purged from Christian doctrine, with its emphasis on 'linear history' and the immenent end of the world.
 
Neil D
 
Reply Fri 26 Mar, 2010 06:31 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;143341 wrote:
When it comes to the universe as a whole, time loses its meaning, for there is nothing else relative to which the universe may be said to change.

Nothing else relative that is accepted as scientific fact. The Universe is expanding into something. In M-Theory they call the area outside the Universe the "Bulk". Which may contain other Universes. So the Universe may be a sub-system within a Multiverse.
jeeprs;143341 wrote:

This 'vanishing' of time for the entire universe becomes very explicit in quantum cosmology, where the time variable simply drops out of the quantum description. It may readily be restored in the theory by considering the universe to be separated into two sub-systems: an observer with a clock, and the rest of the universe. So the observer plays an absolutely critical role in this respect. Linde [Andrei Linde, a physicist] expresses it graphically: "Thus we see that without introducing an observer, we have a dead universe, which does not evolve in time", and "we are together, the universe and us. The moment you say that the universe exists without any observers, I cannot make any sense out of this. I cannot imagine a consistent theory of everything that ignores consciousness...in the absence of observers, our universe is dead.

This is interesting to think about. I would guess it is the "Bulk" when taken as a whole is dead and does not evolve in time. So to speak.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Fri 26 Mar, 2010 06:38 pm
@Neil D,
Neil;140777 wrote:
Supposing there is a God. By God i mean something fundamental from which everything comes, and it itself came from nothing, but has always existed in eternity. Nothing More is implied by this use of the word "God".

Do you think that anything this God creates would have already been created an infinite number of times? Since it exists in eternity.

Neil
In bible, curan ..etc it says there isn't other gods but god, but only 1 true god which is god, so it implyes that there are indeed other gods which may have existed for eternety.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 26 Mar, 2010 08:12 pm
@Neil D,
That book that the Paul Davies quote is from, is actually very interesting - published in Australia as 'the Goldilocks Enigma' but in some other markets as 'The Cosmic Blueprint'. Well worth reading.
 
 

 
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